Bald Eagle Picture

12.20.2002

11:31 PM
Arianna Huffington praises webloggers for generating the energy that sent Trent Lott to the political cleaners.

She writes that most webloggers are "unpaid amateurs" but mentions people like Glenn Reynolds, Mickey Klaus, and Andrew Sullivan. These three are paid intellectuals. Reynolds posts as a hobby when he's not grading law tests. Klaus and Sullivan have journalistic gigs and extend it with there weblogging. She didn't mention a single amateur weblogger. No John Hawkins or Megan McArdle (who is currently jobless) or myself.

It's disengenuous to talk about weblogging as a democratizing medium but only mention pros and semi-pros.

"In Praise of Making a Stink" [via InstaPundit]

Sean Hackbarth |



11:07 PM
King at SCSUScholars reports that St. Cloud State College Republicans and the university administration are working on an apology. However, there's no word on whether the professors will apologize. On a lighter note, the CRs have a letter from the Israeli Embassy approving their use of the Israeli flag.

Sean Hackbarth |



10:16 PM
Today began the last weekend before Christmas. It's a time of packed stores and short tempers. This is my fifth Christmas season working in a major specialty retailer. Here are some helpful hints to make your last-minute shopping more productive.

  1. Prepare a list before you head out. Have some ideas of what you're looking for. It will keep your mind busy thinking of alternatives if your first choice isn't available.
  2. Don't expect items to be available. This past week was the last chance for retailers to get their shipments out to stores. Sure, there will be some shipments in tomorrow, Monday, and even Tuesday, but for the most part, what you see is what you get.
  3. Which brings me to my next piece of advice. Call before you leave. Let your fingers do the walking. For example, it really stinks to brave traffic (both cars and people) only to find out the store doesn't have what you're looking for. Most bookstores and music shops do offer to hold items for at least a day so you know your trek will not be a waste of gas. Stores like to offer to hold items because there's a greater chance to get the customer in to buy something else. Why do you think all that merchandise is displayed by the cash registers?
  4. Be patient. Lots and lots of people will be shopping the next few days. Everybody wants help, but there's only so many people working in the stores. As a bookseller, I want to make sure you find what you're looking for as quickly as possible. If I have to spend 10 minutes on one customer, that's that much less time I can help others. I want to help customers quickly and effectively.
  5. Be nice to employees. Sure, Christmas shopping may be stressful for you, but realize that you've only spent a few days over a couple months completing your lists. People like me have been enduring customer requests since October. We will do the best we can with what we have available. If you go to my bookstore, we'll check to see if a book is in stock. If not, we'll call other stores to see if they have it. What doesn't help is a frustrated customer getting angry because we can't get the book they're looking for because they started shopping too late. (That's why it's important to have a list with alternatives in mind.)


Sean Hackbarth |



9:57 PM

In the interest of pursuing the best possible agenda for the future of our country, I will not seek to remain as Majority Leader of the United States Senate for the 108th Congress, effective January 6, 2003. To all those who offered me their friendship, support and prayers, I will be eternally grateful. I will continue to serve the people of Mississippi in the United States Senate.


So many have been ragging on Sen. Trent Lott these past few weeks. Since he finally did the right thing and stepped down, we should send him an e-mail letting him know we support his decision.

"Lott Stepping Down As Senate GOP Leader"

Sean Hackbarth |

12.19.2002

10:48 PM
John Hawkins has a list of the most annoying liberals for 2002. I won't give away #1, but here's a hint: he's a Nobel Prize winner.

Sean Hackbarth |



10:19 PM
National Review and TAM both agree that Lott should go because he's a poor leader, and his gaffe proves his ineptitude.

We have long considered Lott a clumsy and ineffective Republican leader, and his controversial Strom Thurmond birthday remarks are a spectacular confirmation of that judgment. Is Lott a racist? We don't think so. Are many of the attacks on him dishonest and opportunistic? Yes. But he has been a poor leader of Senate Republicans, and the latest gaffe will only further erode his standing and his ability to lead.

"Lott Should Go"

Sean Hackbarth |



10:07 PM
Bill Clinton: the ex-President who can't keep his mouth shut said the GOP and conservatives are "pretty hypocritical" for coming down hard on Trent Lott.

"How do they think they got a majority in the South anyway?" Clinton told CNN outside a business luncheon he was attending. "I think what they are really upset about is that he made public their strategy."

He added: "They try to suppress black voting, they ran on the Confederate flag in Georgia and South Carolina, and from top to bottom the Republicans supported it."

Clinton didn't have the guts to say it, but he thinks the South is inherently racist and the GOP made political gains by playing to that racism. Clinton moved away from his home in the South, and his true feelings have come out.

"Clinton Calls GOP 'Hypocritical' on Lott" [via Right-Thinking from the Left Coast]

UPDATE: John Hawkins found some examples of Bill Clinton's hypocrisy.

Sean Hackbarth |



9:55 PM
Will black activists like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton castigate anyone who praises Woodrow Wilson? Charles Paul Freund points out some of his awful, racist actions. As Princeton president, Wilson turned away black applicants. As President, he segregated areas in federal buildings. He even told a group of blacks that "segregation is not a humiliation but a benefit, and ought to be so regarded by you gentlemen." Wilson makes Lott look like a pantywaist.

"Dixiecrats Triumphant" [via Popshot Notes]

Sean Hackbarth |



9:34 PM
Sen. Bill Frist will challenge Sen. Trent Lott for majority leader. Frist has to defeat years of Lott's back slapping and an apperance that he's too close to the White House. A Senator told The Washington Post, "The backlash has started. We were elected, we are senators and we want to pick our own leader." That's all well and good, but there's that little part about President Bush working his tail off to win a Senate majority. Then there's the fact that Lott is a lousy leader and a mill stone around the Republican Party's neck.

The AP calls Frist the GOP's "go-to man." He was out in front during the Antrax scare, and he led the way to Senate victories across the country.

"Frist Looks to Replace Lott As GOP Leader"

"Frist Considering Challenging Lott for Leadership Post"

"Tennessee Physician-Lawmaker Frequent Go-To Man in Times of Crisis for Senate, GOP"


Sean Hackbarth |

12.18.2002

6:13 PM
There will probably be little posting tonight. I've put off my Christmas shopping for too long. Today is my last day off before my festivities begin.

Sean Hackbarth |



5:46 PM
If the Packers lose Sunday, it's all Sports Illustrated's fault. Brett Favre and the Pack on on this week's cover.

"Packers Make Cover Of Sports Illustrated"

Sean Hackbarth |

12.17.2002

1:43 AM
After reading this Thomas Sowell column nothing really needs to be said about the Lott affair. It doesn't matter if Lott is a racist or a Southern good ole boy willing to pander to nefarious groups. He's damaged goods and must go.

The actual choice facing Republicans is whether they want Trent Lott to be out front as the face of their party when they confront future political battles over judicial nominees, national security and the rest of the Bush administration agenda.

Any judge who has ever ruled against any claim -- however outrageous -- by any organization that calls itself a civil rights group is likely to be hit with charges of "racism" when he or she is nominated for an appellate court appointment and is up for confirmation in the Senate. Who is going to go on nationwide television and reassure the public that the nominee is not a racist? Trent Lott?

Anything in national security policy that can be construed as "racial profiling" of people from the Middle East will be construed that way by critics. When the Republican leadership is called upon to defend the policy, will Senator Lott's presence among that leadership help the credibility of their defense?

One of the great opportunities that Republicans have of making inroads into the Democrats' virtual monopoly of minority votes in the years ahead is by offering vouchers as a way to rescue minority children from failing schools. But any attempt to claim the moral high ground on this issue can be dismissed with sneering remarks about the Republican majority leader.

No wonder some Democrats wanted Trent Lott to stay front and center. He can be a living red herring. Long after the current furor has died down, this episode can be resurrected for political encores.

Meanwhile, Republicans will have to tiptoe around racial issues and even kowtow to the likes of Al Sharpton. This can only disgust and demoralize the Republicans' own supporters.


GOP Senators sound very wishy-washy for not not supporting Lott, but supporting a 1.06.02 meeting to hash things out. Sen. John Hagel said, "I support bringing the Republican conference together as soon as possible. Republican senators must either reconfirm their confidence in Trent Lott's leadership or select a new leader." Even Senator "Straight Talk," John McCain only said he approved of the meeting. With only Sen. Don Nickles calling for new leadership Lott may just survive--to the glee of Democrats.

"Lott, Race, and Hypocrisy"

"GOP to 'Hash Out' Lott's Fate"

Sean Hackbarth |



12:27 AM
I know it's early Tuesday, but John Huebscher of the Wisconsin Catholic Conference already has earned the TAM quote of the day. I'm sure I won't find anything close to this for the rest of the day. Huebscher comments on death penalty legislation to be introduced next year:

I don't think we respond to the horrors of Sept. 11 with more violence. [T]hen Osama Bin Laden has already won.

It used to be that any policy idea had to be enacted "for the children." Now, any policy idea can be opposed because "then the terrorist have already won."

It's the TAM editorial position that state-sanctioned death isn't needed when better alternatives are available. What I do oppose are banal cliches used in political debate.

"GOP-Controlled Legislature in Position to Reconsider Death Penalty" [via Progressive Racine]

Sean Hackbarth |



12:06 AM
In trying to cover his rear and protect his leadership position, Sen. Trent Lott pandered to an audience on Black Entertainment Television. He told the audience that he's for affirmative action and has practiced it in his office. He also seems to think it's wrong for Harvard to have one-third of its students be children of alumni. Harvard is a private institution last I heard.

Lott must go, but not for the foolish comments he made over a week ago. No, he must go because someone who considers themself to be a leader of their party would have handled this situation much better. Lott tried to use political speak to smooth over this gaffe and wait it out. That would have worked if this was a one-time gaffe, but Lott has a history of pandering to segregation-sympathetic crowds. He could have talked like a normal person and told the world that he was trying to say something nice about Sen. Strom Thrumond at his birthday party. No more, no less. Lott would have been embarrassed, but he would have kept his leadership position. By ignoring the controversy, he opened himself up to conservative criticism--many who already didn't care much for Lott (like me).

It's interesting that Lott asked blacks to forgive him, but not Republicans and conservatives. His foolish words and pathetic actions have hurt the Right far more than any black.

"Lott Asks Blacks for Forgiveness on BET" [via Progressive Racine]

Sean Hackbarth |

12.16.2002

11:16 PM
I'm interested in seeing how the movie version of The 25th Hour adds to the book. The novel felt like a series of character sketches rather than a story with a beginning, middle, and end. David Rooney writes that Spike Lee and David Benioff are taking advantage of our new, more dangerous world:

Attempting to transform superior pulp into something thematically richer, the writer and director heighten the role of the story's setting to create a post-9/11 symphony on the strength, resilience and hope of New York City that's sure to draw considerable attention.

The structure provides ample opportunity for good actors to show off their stuff (Edward Norton plays the lead role).

"Spike Lee in Liberating Foray with 25th Hour"

Sean Hackbarth |



12:56 AM
John Hawkins at Right Wing News covers a scary scene at St. Cloud University where College Republicans were threatened physically by a professor and censored by a school administrator.

SCSUScholars, a group of non-hostile St. Cloud State faculty, has plenty of links and commentary. This is much more interesting than Trent Lott powerplays and conservative bloodletting.

"College Republicans Hassled For Supporting Israel At St. Cloud State"

Sean Hackbarth |

12.15.2002

11:49 PM
Damn, now I won't have AlGore to rip on during the Presidential elections. Anybody need a copy of Earth in the Balance? I won't be needing mine anymore.

What most interested me about this story is AlGore saying this effectively ends his political career. "I make this decision in the full knowledge and awareness that if I don't run this run this time, which I'm not going to run in 2004, that's probably the last opportunity I'll have had to run for president." He's only 54. He could easily run again in 2008 or 2012. If Democrats were willing to run guys as old as Sen. Frank Lautenberg and Walter Mondale (and don't forget Sen. Robert Byrd), an elder statesman like AlGore could be resurrected.

"Gore Rules Out Running in '04"

"Al Gore Says He Won't Run in 2004"

Sean Hackbarth |

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When I'm not pondering the fate of the universe, I'm reading, writing, or selling books. Here you'll find comments on politics, culture, books, and music. Not necessarily in that order.

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